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This year, in celebration of Valentine's Day, Verbum Dei Cebu Singles reality organized a road trip/recollection/team building activity on Feb. 15-16, 2020 in a beach resort in Boljoon, about 100 kms south of Cebu City.
The aim of the road trip was for the participants to realize that they can find a lifetime companion in God, as his beloved children. It was participated in by 27 singles/ working people with different profession. Along the way the group made stop-overs in Theotokos Shrine, in Carcar Cebu, prayed the Rosary of the Word, then proceeded to Bishop Camomot's Shrine still in Carcar. The group was able to enter Domus Teofilos, containing a small museum showing the life of Bishop Camomot, who is now in the process of becoming a saint. After reaching the final destination in Boljoon, the group had animation, games, and listened to the first talk on the truth of faith "Your life is for Love".
After dinner, there was a formation given on the topic "The Hierarchy of Needs" and a group sharing was held in front of a bonfire. The next morning, the activity started with a morning exercise in front of the beach, watching the sunrise and listening to the sound of the waves. The next talk given was with the theme "Your Life is for Loving" followed by team building activities. The event ended by attending mass in Dalaguete Catholic Church. The participants enjoyed the different activities and had a wonderful weekend experience with Someone who wants to give them their "forever" and be with them forever.
Below is the experience of one of the participants.
Road to forever: A Valentines Special Getaway for single realities gave me an opportunity to open up and to become the best version of myself. I remember a few years ago what a timid and shy type of a person I was, but with God's grace I was able to step out of that world of my comfort zone. The said event encouraged me to step up further towards my goals in life and to know myself better as a person. It allowed me to give back and to share how to embrace and value life with God as the center of everything. Despite of all the “baggage” I and the other participants had prior to going to the said event, we were meant to meet each other in order to fill in the gap we had in our hearts for the missing puzzle in our life. Thus, I felt blessed and grateful for the activity because I was able to open up about my gloomy days and share how I was able to reach my "bloomy" days which I am living at the moment. Don't ever compare your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 10 version of success in life. Each one of us has his/her own time frame of success in our own pace in life. Just trust the process and spread random act of kindness and happiness to everybody. (From Loren Tesado, one of the participants)
Here are some photos of the event:
"Love them as I have loved you"
Teens' Valentine's song forum
As part of Verbum Dei’s monthly visitation in the Olango Island, particularly at Nemesio-Epifania Taneo Memorial High School, the whole campus ministry together with the 12 students who are in their process of discipleship and the youth of Barangay Tingo, came together for the song forum in celebration for Valentine's Day. It had a theme, “Love them as I have loved you,” and was held at Tingo’s seaside.
The forum started at 3pm in the afternoon, where the Verbum Dei Family, led by Sister Adree and Ate Jay Anne, welcomed the participants with timely songs about friendship; in this way it reminded us that our savior Jesus can be our friend, and even our best friend. The activity was great fun for it also had a treasure hunt game where the participants were grouped and given the chance to solve a riddle. The treasure had something inside--a message from Jesus encouraging us to talk to him as our best friend. We had a moment of silence as well so that everyone can talk to him in prayer.
And when the forum was about to end, the campus ministry members had surprise gifts for the Verbum Dei. It has been a year since they came to the school and encouraged everyone to listen and follow the Word of God, and this was a way of thanking them for bringing each member closer to Jesus. This Valentine's Day was made more special, for it made each one realize that Valentine's Day is not only for romantic relationships but it is all about our love for each other just like how Jesus loved each one of us.
Here are some photos of the event:
Do everything in Love
Verbum Dei Youth Reality Valentine’s Day Special
Love has different meanings. It can mean something more than that typical relationship of a man and a woman, and we often see this month of love as a celebration only for those who have partners in life. However, we believe in a love that is everlasting. A love that never ages or grows old.
This lead the group of young people from Verbum Dei Cebu to organize a special way of celebrating Valentine’s Day last February 15, 2020. Spearheaded by our youth adviser, Sr. Charisma Sulbise, we went to the houses of our dear grandmothers, and widowed and single mothers, to serenade them with love songs from their time, and even some modern love songs. We also made a short program wherein we gave them roses with the word of God attached, a heart shaped balloon, a small gift, sweet lovely cards and had a moment of prayer with them and for them. To spice up the serenade, we had a surprise game where they were asked to pick a rolled paper, and do or answer whatever is written on it. Some of them danced the Tala Challenge, shared their love story, sang with us, shared their first crush and many more.
It was indeed a special moment among us of sharing the love that Christ has given us first. Personally, I am in awe of how God has planned out everything. Sometimes, when we really are challenged, that is when God makes you see His works. Love is alive. Love will live. Love prevails among fear. Love is more than we thought it would be. It was a memorable and priceless experience for me. Everything was worth the time and effort spent in the preparations. This experience made this passage from 1 Corinthians 16:14 came alive for me: “Do everything in love.”
Here are some photos of the event:
With thanks to KP Artajo and the WordNews team
PANSOL, Quezon City - A pre-Valentine’s festivity entitled #LetLoveSpeak was held last February 9, 2019 at the misioneros’ house. This event, attended by young professionals, happy singles and working people, aimed to celebrate the day of hearts in a more meaningful and fruitful way.
It kicked off with an icebreaker followed by a sumptuous dinner. The night was made even more romantic with serenades by guest performers Girl Valencia, Bryan Calzado, Drew Capones and Jo-anne Mendoza. The highlight of the said activity was a formation on the Five Love Languages by Mr. Dan Caballes, a full time seminar and workshop facilitator, along with his wife Nabelle.
The Pansol misioneros and Pasig misioneras along with lay disciples from Pansol, Ortigas and Makati Schools of the Word organized the activity.
With thanks to Christel Mendoza and the WordNews team
On Saturday evening, Feb 16, our Verbum Dei Family in Cebu had two post Valentine’s events: one for Married couples and the other for Singles, young adults group.
The post-Valentine’s Special for married couples was organised by Victor & Ellen, Dondon & Syme, Jess & Mau and El El & Ann. ‘It was a happy evening, and a great avenue to meet new couples. There were 28 married couples present, the youngest being 7 years married and the older more than 28 years married. We all felt inspired starting the evening with mass, and in the homily the priest reminded us of how important it is to build the foundation of the family rooted in Christ’s love. The incorporation of prayer made this Valentine’s meal and celebration very special; a beautiful and touching balance between the food, singing, dancing, gifts, games, prayer and some shared experiences on how Jesus, present in the midst of a married couple, really enhances marriage life.’ (DonDon)
‘A day to celebrate the Love that I tasted from my Father God. A love that was handed down by my Father God when we had our ‘I do’ 8yrs ago. We had our renewal of vows and it was like it is still our wedding day, as I said ‘yes’ and ‘I do’ again to my dear husband Don. A day of love shall I say, which we celebrated with other Verbum Dei couples and invited couple guests on Feb 16, 2018, 7pm at Northstar condominium, NRA, Cebu City. It was AWESOME! I enjoyed so much with my husband and all the couples in that simple yet memorable event. It was a day to remember. It seemed like our first dance during our wedding day to entertain our guest as we danced the opening salvo to welcome all guest. Thanks for our event coordinator Ellen Siarza. God really works as He bridges the gap and He fills in the blank. As one of the organizers I don't know how it turned out so well… nothing is impossible with God.’ (Syme)
‘I have attended many Valentine’s celebrations in the past, where I have spent lots of money, yet this one was the cheapest and one of the most special ones. For me, the highlight was the renewal of the marriage vows, and the way the priest awoke my thirst and hunger to renew my vows. This evening brought me lots of hope, to see how married couples still believe in God’s calling to marriage, despite some of the challenges and difficulties I know some couples are passing through. This was also shown to me in the moment when we were asked to remember and share some questions, such as: when and where was your first date, your first kiss and gift? And when was the date which you said ‘yes’ to each other? Amazing to see how even the older couple present there could remember those key moments of their relationship. All this and the final invitation to dance together by couples, made this event not just a celebration but a remarkable evening in our call to grow in love as a couple.’ (Jess and Mau)
Here are some photos of the event:
From the WordNews team
The singles/ young adults Verbum Dei group also organised a Verbum Dei Special event, held in another venue, in AA restaurant, Banilad on February 16, 2019. Starting with dinner and music, there followed a formation talk on “Building Healthy and Mature Relationships”. This was an opportunity not only to invite friends but also to reflect and share on how healthy and mature relationships, which we all long for, need to be worked on; it is a life journey starting from now: ‘May your inner self be planted and built on love…’ (Ephesians 3:16-20) and heading towards Christ, ‘Let’s grow towards Christ, mature in love.’ (Eph 4: 14-16).
The formation input explored the journey of building our relationships in love, looking at Christ, the One mature in love. It also deepened in the elements that the following authors stated: ‘Maturity is collaboration and commitment, whilst immaturity is escape, evasion, accommodation and competition’ (Thomas Kelman); and in the characteristics of mature and healthy relationships according to the psychologist Abraham Maslow: ‘capacity to relate with reality; self-acceptance; spontaneity; to be centred in external problems rather than in oneself; the need of intimacy and loneliness; enjoyment for life; mystical experiences; desire for community; tolerance; strong interpersonal relationships; ethical; humour; creativity; integrity; and the capacity to integrate opposite qualities.’
In short, to build ourselves and our relationships in love is a journey which implies a constant learning and growth in: self-awareness, managing our emotions, learning effective communication, becoming free from past hurting experiences that may colour our present, learning from each other, assertivity, self-control, boundaries, chastity, and off course, in all, looking at Christ as our model.
Here is some feedback from the attendees:
‘I can now understand better the difficulties I have in some relationships… and felt encouraged to grow in self-knowledge, acceptance, reconciliation and love…’ (Jun)
‘Our Singles Valentine’s Special was an intimate and fruitful evening, well spent in our dialogues between us during the meal and enriched by a formation talk given by Sr Margarida; it gave us some insights on how to build better relationships in love, and the participation of many of us in the Q&A.’ (Joanna)
‘I particularly found the interaction activities within the talk very helpful… they allowed us not only to interact with one another but also to examine our own relationships bringing into awareness what is happening also in the way we relate with and deal with other people around us.’ (SueAnn)
From the WordNews team
Every February, people celebrate the "month of love" whether you are married, in a relationship or single. Valentine’s Day excites a lot of people most especially the lovers and the young lovers. But what if you don't have a partner to celebrate it with? How will you celebrate VDay? Well, some feel bitter which makes them have many "hugot" (deep feelings come out) and some simply just prefer to stay happy and celebrate it with family and friends.
Last Saturday, February 16, 2019 a Post-Valentine's Celebration for the Verbum Dei Youth was held at Dela Strada Parish. There were 27 participants who responded to the invitation. First, they had an Introduction about the program, then followed by the "human bingo" game. It let them interact with new people by asking who is the person required in the game. Then a dinner with some serenading. Finally, the talk entitled "All about Dating, Love, and Sex" by Mrs. Aira Caparas-Tabayoyong which was really an interesting topic applicable for the youth. It is also one way of preparing them for the future circumstances they might encounter. The speaker made a great impact by getting the attention of the audience. After that, they had a follow-up explanation regarding what was discussed by the speaker. Before the participants went home, there was picture taking and the photos revealed the fun on their faces that night.
How nice the words of St Paul. There is so much talk of love, but his inspired words in his first letter to the Corinthians really guide us:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV)
Let us all be reminded that by loving others we are already sharing God's love. This is a wonderful way to celebrate Valentine’s day each and every day!
With thanks to Kharis and the WordNews team
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